Autumnal Car Checks
As the leaves start to fall this Autumn we are advising motorists to start preparing their vehicles for the colder and wetter months ahead. Our Irish weather patterns are certainly changing and current forecasts predict a wet and thundery outlook for the months ahead. These conditions will no doubt have an impact on your driving experience, particularly as wet roads and autumn leaves pose an increased skid risk as can fallen trees or debris. Here we take a look at five basic checks you should carry out for peace of mind.
Be Sure Your Tyres Are In Good Health
We understand most motorists realise that wet roads pose a skid risk but what they might not realise is that wet roads immediately after a prolonged dry period can be even more problematic. That’s because the hotter summer weather can cause the bitumen in roads to bubble to the surface. When it then rains, the bitumen mixes with rubber, oil and other road dirt to form a slippery surface layer. That skid risk decreases when further rain washes the slippery layer away, but on the first day of rain after a prolonged dry spell, the roads can be treacherous. Then we have the autumn leaves likely falling on roads so it’s crucial to check the condition of your tyres. Inspect tread depth, inflation levels, and the overall state of your tyres, checking for any cracks in the rubber that might be forming. Tyre tread depth has to be above 1.6mm to be legal. And if you flout the rules, you could face a fine and penalty points. Colder weather can also cause tyres to suffer a loss in pressure, so make sure they’re set at the correct PSI (pounds per square inch) according to the manufacturer’s handbook.
Are All Of Your Lights Working?
As the days become shorter, motorists will rely on their car's lights more and more, particularly if they’re commuting or travelling later into the evening. During the summer months, it might not be immediately obvious that your headlights, or tail lights, aren’t illuminating properly. So now is the time to check for blown bulbs, and to also make sure your headlights are aligned correctly. Check indicators, side lights, headlights, brake lights, and reversing lights. And you should also check that your fog lights are functioning as they should both front and back. Remember most cars only have a single fog light to the rear. Try remember after heavy rains or fog to switch off your fog lights so you don’t dazzle other road users. The only lights that should be on during the day are the standard DRL’s (Daytime Running Lights) which are usually bright LED’s.
Check Your Windows & Wipers
The combination of damp autumn weather and a low sun can be a hazardous combination if you also have a dirty or heavily-smudged windscreen. To avoid any reduced visibility issues whilst driving, clean the interior of your window using a window cleaner and a microfibre cloth to prevent fogging issues. However, it's not just the interior of your windows that require attention. Examine your windscreen for any noticeable chips, and promptly arrange for a repair to prevent them from developing into larger cracks that could prove financially costly if ignored. Last but not least, take a look at your windscreen wipers. Ensure that the rubber components in contact with your windscreen are in good condition, and free from any signs of fraying or splits. If they fail to meet these criteria, it's advisable to replace them promptly. It is worth picking up an antifreeze screen was for the windscreen washer bottle also. It will not only offer superior cleaning but also protect the washer bottle when temperatures drop below freezing.
Standard Fluid Level Checks
When it comes to preparing your vehicle for autumn, do not underestimate the importance of maintaining the fluid levels in your car. Check coolant levels, oil levels, windshield washer fluids, brake fluids, and power steering fluids. All of these components are vital for ensuring your car runs smoothly during the autumn and winter months. Don’t be afraid to check them regularly, particularly now before the weather turns cold. This could save you from having to be rescued from the side of the road in the event of a breakdown. Remember EV owners should carry out these simple checks also. You might not have as many moving engine parts but there are still brake fluid levels and screen washer levels at the least.
Keep Your Vehicle Clean
The rainy weather that accompanies colder months will undoubtedly lead to muddier conditions on Irish roads, resulting in an increased level of debris attaching itself to your vehicle’s exterior. The longer this dirt remains on your car’s surface, the higher the risk of potential blemishes or damage to the paintwork, including rust. To protect your paint from whatever the weather may bring, consider performing a comprehensive cleaning, waxing, and polishing routine before the wet weather commences. We understand it’s not always possible to keep the car spotless this time of the year but just try get into the habit of routine cleaning inside and out and you will reap the rewards in value when it comes time to sell.